The Falcons are done. At 1-7, they have a close to 0% chance of actually making the playoffs, and with the trade of Mohamed Sanu they’ve already signaled that they’ll be sellers at the deadline. All that’s left is to actually sell.
With Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff here, it might seem odd that the Falcons would give up the ghost, but perhaps that continuity will allow them to make a deal without getting significantly less than the organization should take. Those guys are both familiar with this roster and their players’ trade value, after all, even if the actual football team they’re running stinks out loud.
That deadline is coming on Tuesday afternoon. Setting aside the pipe dreams and hail marys (maries? maryies?), who could the team actually move?
There’s no question Vic is the player the Falcons would most like to move. He’s the name that’s been bandied about in the media, he’s confirmed the team has told him they’re shopping him, and getting even part of his salary off the books would let the Falcons start making some moves, like perhaps getting Tyeler Davison locked up for 2020. The question is whether the Falcons will be able to get anything for him.
Color me optimistic, but I still think Beasley can be moved. He’s in a contract year, but because of his lack of production he can likely be re-signed for a reasonable amount. He’s also just 27, has shown enough in coverage to be intriguing to teams, and remains a speedy athlete who teams will probably think they can mold. The Falcons will have to eat salary and probably won’t get the pick back that they really want, but a fresh start for Beasley and draft capital for 2020 would be worth it.
This one stings a bit. I’ve been a Campbell fan since he was drafted, and at times in the previous four seasons his physicality and tight end coverage skills have been absolutely critical. Unfortunately, he’s mired in a down season along with the rest of the defense, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value.
Like Beasley, his contract is coming up, but Campbell also should command a reasonable (if still likely fairly hefty) deal, is fairly young, and is a player with plenty of genuine skill for teams looking for a buy-low opportunity on a physical, capable linebacker with some pass rushing ability. Beasley’s the name to watch for many reasons, but Campbell is probably easier to move, if the team is thinking about doing so.
Those are the two most logical names, but rapid fire, here are a few others who could move if the stars align.
Free’s contract makes this a bit unwieldy, but for a team like the Lions and Buccaneers who harbor some hope of contending but have very little to lean on at running back, he might be appealing. You could reasonably move on from his contract in 2021 at a cap hit of $3 million, and despite terrible blocking and some maddening efforts thus far, Freeman’s looked good enough to help teams.
If teams are looking for a younger, cheaper option, Brian Hill just put a solid little game out there and he would cost very little. I’m hoping he’ll stick around, though.
You would have to have a team looking to do creative things with Trufant’s contract, given how heavy it is. Trufant is far more well-respected around the NFL than he is in the Falcons fanbase, however, and teams ranging from the Cowboys to the Seahawks to the Colts could really use a gifted cover corner still in some semblance of his prime. The question is what they would give up to get him, given that contractual price tag. I still think that makes him unlikely to move.
The Falcons just drafted Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary, clearly view Jake Matthews as the left tackle of the present and future, and have seemed pretty happy with what Jamon Brown has brought to the table. That makes Mack the only movable piece along the offensive line. The team acquiring him would get a stellar veteran and a still-quality center for the stretch run in 2019 and could either keep him, re-structure or move on in 2020. He’d be a stellar trade chip if not for the tiny fact that the Falcons don’t have a true backup center to replace him, as they’d need to lean on Wes Schweitzer if they did make that move. They are, of course, not trying to kill their quarterbacks.
Don’t be surprised if the Falcons make only one of these moves between now and the deadline, but I’d be surprised and a little disappointed if they made none of them. The next season is all that matters now, so we’ll see how aggressive Atlanta will be.